US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Richard John Neuhaus, RIP

Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The world of Catholic commentary lost a formidable voice yesterday with the death at age 72 of Father Richard John Neuhaus, founder and editor of the influential conservative journal First Things. Neuhaus was a driving force in the detante between Catholics and evangelicals, and the current president credited Neuhaus personally for helping form his view of abortion. (An NCR obituary outlines Neuhaus' substantial political impact.)

Neuhaus was also among the first influential evangelicals to become Catholic. HIs 1990 Tiber crossing (and priesthood a year later) was followed by other evangelicals, including writer Scott Hahn.

Whether you agreed with Neuhaus or not--and I almost never did--his contribution to the dialogue about what it means to be a religious person and a Catholic in the "naked public square" is undeniable. Though his part in the earthly conversation has ended, the heavenly assembly has gained a new and distinctive voice.